It’s more important than ever for recruiters and hiring managers to strive for a fair and unbiased recruitment process when hiring for a new vacancy.
There is a conscious movement towards anti-discrimination and increased diversity in many fields, particularly those which have historically been difficult for those from minority backgrounds to break into. The legal industry is no stranger to this issue, and strides are being made towards a more diverse workforce across the industry.
This is, of course, simply the right thing to do to ensure a level playing field for everyone. But it’s also been proven that having a team made up of people with a variety of backgrounds and perspectives highly increases productivity, creativity and overall financial success.
However, there are often unconscious biases at play that can hold firms back when it comes to hiring new team members. Read on to learn more about some common recruitment biases, and how to combat these if you do spot them.
We’re all familiar with the idea of stereotypes. In hiring, stereotypes come into play in the form of ingrained beliefs that a person is more (or less) likely to be suitable for a role based on a characteristic such as age, race, gender, class, sexuality, appearance or physical ability. These factors in reality have no effect on how well they can do a job.
One solution to combat unconscious stereotyping is to try blind or anonymous hiring, whereby the candidate’s CV is judged purely on their skills and experience with all personal details removed. Having a diverse hiring team can also help avoid this bias; the less homogenous and more inclusive your hiring team is, the less chance there is of unconsciously falling back on harmful stereotypes.
Imagine you have read an applicant’s CV and spotted something that you particularly liked, which makes this candidate stick in your mind. Confirmation bias states that you’re more likely to take notice of things that back up your existing opinion when it comes to interviewing this person.
Try to bring in fresh perspectives onto your hiring team and encourage everyone to share their opinions; they could help you spot positives (or negatives) that you may have missed due to focusing on the details that backed up your original opinion of the candidate, without even meaning to.
It’s easy to subconsciously compare a candidate to the person who did the role before them, or to the rest of the people on the team (especially in terms of their personality). This can cloud your judgement from assessing the candidate based on their own skills and qualities.
They may not be the same type of person as those who have done the role in the past, but they may still be great at the job and even bring a fresh perspective or new approach that could lend itself to the role. Recruitee calls this bias “anchoring”.
What’s worked before
If you’ve found success in the past by using specific methods, or advertising in the same places, the first instinct is to replicate this for each vacancy. But it’s worth considering each role individually to make sure you’re giving yourself the best chance of reaching a well-rounded audience of candidates.
If you’re trying to hire more inclusively, perhaps consider whether there are new platforms where you could advertise or promote your vacancy, which are more likely to reach a more diverse pool of candidates.
There are plenty more unconscious biases out there when it comes to recruiting. Recruitee’s blog article goes into more detail about these, why they can be so damaging, and the ways to overcome these.
It’s easy to fall into any of these traps, even when we think we’re doing all we can to be fair and objective. Bear these factors in mind, and you’ll be able to view your decision making and hiring processes through a new lens, helping you be truly impartial and unbiased.
If you’re hiring for a vacancy at the moment, we can help! Simply head over to our easy-to-use post a job tool and your role can be live in minutes.